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LSU releases law firm’s review of sexual misconduct cases; two athletic officials suspended

LSU campus
LSU campus(WAFB)
Updated: Mar. 5, 2021 at 10:37 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A report compiled by a third-party law firm on the university’s handling of sexual assault and violence cases have been made public.

Husch Blackwell, the law firm hired by LSU to review how it has handled cases involving sexual misconduct in recent years, presented its findings as well as analysis of the university’s Title IX policies and procedures to the LSU Board Of Supervisors.

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The university suspended two high-ranking athletic officials, Verge Ausberry and Miriam Segar, based on the report.

Miriam Segar
Miriam Segar(LSU)
Verge Ausberry
Verge Ausberry(LSU)

Ausberry released the following statement Friday:

“I accept the conclusions and decisions rendered by the university and absolutely respect the commitment to putting the welfare of all students first. My entire career has been dedicated to LSU and the ideal of promoting and protecting student interests and I regret that my actions in this instance fell short of that standard. I intend to redouble my personal efforts to make our university a model for best practices in the area of domestic and campus safety and dignity.”

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Galligan issued another statement Friday just before the release:

“Today is a significant milestone from which we will forever measure our progress. During the LSU Board of Supervisors meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. this morning, Husch Blackwell will present the findings of their independent investigation of how LSU handled allegations of sexual and domestic assault in years past. The meeting will be live-streamed and available for viewing at www.lsu.edu/bos, and the report will be posted at www.lsu.edu/titleix-review following the presentation. I encourage you to watch the presentation (which will also be recorded and made available after the meeting) and read the report. At 148 pages, it is very comprehensive and detailed. After Husch Blackwell is done, we will hold a brief press conference, which will also be available via livestream at the same link.

I want you to know in advance of today’s Board meeting that this report shines light on some very serious issues with how the university has handled these cases. After hundreds of interviews and countless hours of research and investigation, Husch Blackwell has delivered exactly what we need: a brutally honest and objective evaluation of our culture. It will be hard to hear and even harder to read, but if we are to fix our future, we must first face our past.

Perhaps most troubling of all the report’s findings is the understanding that, whether through our actions or inactions, our institution betrayed the very people we are sworn to protect. Our job is to protect our students and support them in their times of need. It has become clear we haven’t always fully lived up to our commitment. That will no longer be the case. After the report is done, I will share a few of the many steps we must take toward strengthening our ability to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence. And in the coming weeks, I will meet with many of you to share more details about how we will do that together.

We are committed to bringing about real, concerted change that will make us a better, safer university moving forward. We owe it to the brave survivors who brought forth their experiences, we owe it to our past, current, and future students, we owe it to you — our LSU community — and we owe it to everyone who has ever put their trust in LSU. But words are hollow — it is our actions that will make a difference. I’m asking every single member of our LSU community to work with us to create positive change and to hold us accountable in our pursuit of improvement.”

Husch Blackwell made the following recommendations:

- Making it easier for victims of sexual misconduct to report the incident.

- Increasing the staff and investigators so they can report the claim more effiecntly.

- Enhance oversight in the whole Title IX program.

- Having the Title IX office report directly to the LSU president.

- Having STAR the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response Team handle all of the training content for the facility and staff.

- Increasing the awareness of the resources available to the survivors that LSU offers.

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